Airshow preparation

IT was sad to hear that there is a possibility that an air show will not be held again at Teesside Airport (D&S Times, July 1), due to incompetence of outside agencies, who did not take into account that the traffic would be very heavy, even though it was announced several weeks beforehand that it was a sell-out event with 22,000 tickets pre-sold.

We were lucky to get into the show early and enjoyed a really excellent display.

C P Atkinson, Great Ayton.

Positives on display

AT 8am on September 19, 1959, as a 14-year-old, I, along with a number of friends boarded the train from Crook railway station to Dinsdale to attend the RAF at home day at Middleton St George.

At 9am on June 11, 2022, I left home by car to attend the airshow at Teesside Airport and just after 11am we were parked up on the airfield.

The point I wish to make is that the media stated there was an “airshow shambles,” which would imply that the whole airshow, including the displays were a shambles. This was not the case.

On the airfield there was plenty of entertainment, such as the Army, a fairground, a classic car show, and a number of static aircraft as well as numerous stalls for refreshments.

The air displays, although low on content compared to some I been to, were first class, with the Red Arrows landing and displaying, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight with the Hurricane and Spitfire, the Auto Gyro Display Team, the Starlings Display Team, and the Catalina Amphibious Flying Boat as well as the RAF Typhoon Display Team.

These displays were carried out with low cloud and at times strong winds.

It would be a great pity if this airshow does not continue, bearing in mind its history going back to the Second World War, and I hope that all lessons described in the inquiry can be sorted out so that it may be able to continue sometime in the future.

David Brumwell, Crook.

Racing ahead

I READ that 142,000 motor racing fans had gone to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday.

Good job it was not held at Teesside Airport, the queues would have stretched to Barnard Castle.

GO Wright, Sadberge.


PROPOSALS are afoot for empowering residents at the bottom of the democratic pile. We have heard that one before – however there may be a way to achieve the reality. It is buried in the back of the Secretary of State Michael Gove’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which is wending its way through its committee stage in Parliament at present.

It's all about a new kind of speeded up Neighbourhood Plan process, to be called a “Neighbourhood Priorities Statement”. It will be generated in your community as a strategy for place-based policies, looking forward to achievable outcomes, with assistance from above.

This is all about bottom up planning not top down, which is often the pre-occupation of many in our system of government.

The statement by which a town or parish council, or if neither, then a neighbourhood forum, is enabled to set out what the community body considers “to be the principal needs and prevailing views, of the community in the neighbourhood respect of local matters” is in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill 2022, seventh schedule, paragraph 15K.

“Local matters” are described broadly and will be prescribed by the minister by way of regulations to be produced. However, they will cover not only traditional planning as development and change of use of land, but also the management of land. Other matters which can be proposed for the neighbourhood area include housing (presumably affordable residential, as well as the situation of new housing development), the natural environment, the economy (businesses, jobs and high street shops), public spaces (pocket parks), infrastructure, facilities or services (rural buses) and as a catch-all – other features.

Initially, a community will need to draw up an application for a neighbourhood area which is submitted to the local planning authority, which then makes the appropriate designation.

In North Yorkshire, delegates from the district areas are being appointed to a steering group which will assist the new county-wide unitary authority with a new Parish Charter, providing a framework for new partnerships directly with communities. It will also provide guidance in the preparation of statements. The statements, when published by the relevant local planning authority, will be part of a stronger local plan and will have statutory force in the determination of planning policies and applications for planning approval.

There are 731 towns and parishes in North Yorkshire, many have councils, but if not, the schedule will provide for Neighbourhood Forums (parish meetings). There will be more when Scarborough and Harrogate are divided up, with local councils.

United, this should be a force to be reckoned with in bringing significant place-based change to our communities. Let’s go for it.

Philip Holder, Leyburn town councillor.

Song lyrics

IN response to M Harris of Darlington “Forgotten song” (D&S Times letters, July 1) the song in question was written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stanley Adams in 1936 for their show called “The Show Is On”. Here are the words:

Little old lady passing by

Catching everyone's eye

You have such a charming manner

Sweet and shy.

Little old bonnet set in place

And a smile on your face

You're a perfect picture in your

lavender and lace.

Little bit of business here

Little bit of business there

Bet that you've been window shopping

All around the square.

Little old lady, time for tea

Here's a kiss, two or three

You're just like that little old lady

I hold dear to me.

Libby Harding, Leeming, Northallerton.

New store

MANY years ago I was the managing director of Durham Tube, whose premises were just down the road from the Fighting Cocks in Middleton St. George.

Each month we would have a board meeting with my fellow directors from the West Midlands.

The company was very successful and as a result I got promoted to run Tube Products in Oldbury. After each board meeting we would retire to the Fighting Cocks for a very healthy (!) meal. So good was the food that there was no more work for us that day.

I have super memories of Durham Tube and the Fighting Cocks and I wish it good luck in its new guise as a Sainsbury’s Local store.

Stephen Loynes, York.

Test cricket

AFTER a fine Test series between England and New Zealand and a boost for Yorkshire Cricket and Headingley, there have been complaints about Michael Vaughan’s role as commentator on BBC Test Match Special, as he, with others, awaits the outcome of charges over alleged racism by the ECB. Innocent until proven guilty comes to mind.

Peter Garbutt, Brookfield, Middlesbrough.

Eco tipping point

THE loss of so much life on land and in our seas is very sobering.

But we do know the answers of why it’s happening.

Any alien would be doing the same, unfortunately we are the home-grown alien.

No other generation has been as poisonous s the present, homo toxic.

Many homeowners can’t wait to destroy their living, breathing gardens.

More land is destroyed and “neutralised” for sports and entertainment and holidays than even before.

But the largest land destruction is caused by ill thought-out agriculture.

Our seas are still thought of as a limitless supply of food, when even the industrial profiteers admit we are at a tipping point when most fish will not be available.

Will all that disappearing life miss us, I doubt it.

But by God, we will miss them.

C Davison, Billingham.

Cinema loss

IT is a crying shame that the Odeon Cinema in Darlington closed its doors for the last time last week.

Since its refurbishment, it is a much better cinema than the Vue, costing millions of pounds to build and situated in a location which could have been better used as a modern bus station to serve the town.

The Odeon had plush seating throughout, not just the chosen few seats as at the Vue. They can all be sanitised and refreshed for the following audience to enjoy the comfort.

The sound system was of a much higher standard and the staff were so obliging.

There are plenty of car parking spaces at Garden Street and the surrounding areas, a local bus service and it is within easy walking distance of many eating establishments.

I only hope that some buyer with hindsight and incentive comes along and snaps it up.

It should have been a listed building as the buildings on either side of it are, but here we go, another great loss to the town.

Christine Fishwick, Darlington.

Race to the bottom

THE rail unrest is basically an own goal by the government, as have been many other similar situations.

How are ordinary folks ever to balance their books when the government refuse to adopt wartime price control methods, then accuse workers of economic sabotage?

When are we ever to get a minimum citizen income rather than continued uncontrolled capitalism and its race to the bottom attitudes?

Minimum wage is simply arrived at by guesswork.

There has never been a proper item by item breakdown as to what the amount is supposed to cover.

I’ve long considered we need compulsory independent arbitration and a two-week cooling off period before actual strike action.

Before any ultra-bright person says the unions would never agree to it, the truth is governments would absolutely refuse to consider this also.

Under no circumstances would any government (irrespective of colour) accept a verdict which went against their attitudes to the problem.

Newspaper headlines scream “class war” – it seems to me we are in the final days of uncontrolled capitalism and worthless money.

The present grey suits who control the UK are not going to surrender their privilege and gold-plated lifestyle.

G B Butler, Stockton-on-Tees.

Scandal number ?

ANOTHER week, another sordid Westminster scandal.

Of course sleaze and improper behaviour is nothing new – John Mayor had a four-year affair with Edwina Currie in the 1980s.

But today the frequency of scandalous wrongdoings now occurring in the corridors of power has turned Westminster into “pestminster”.

Whether it be MPs looking at x-rated tractors or the tacky never ending groping allegations recently headlined by Tamworth MP Chris Pincher, this Prime Minister cares not one jot.

He treats such illegal and smutty behaviour like a normal everyday occurrence.

And despite all this inappropriate behaviour, Chris Pincher still manages to keeps his job as an MP.

How on Earth is this possible? In any other workplace, this would not be tolerated.

Stephen Dixon, Redcar.

Carrying on

IT is reported that Boris Johnson cannot or will not be changing his ways in spite of the recent electoral defeats.

Presumably this means he will continue to lie to parliament, try to evade the laws of the country, or change the law when it is an advantage to him or his friends.

The fact that his two appointments of "ethics advisers" have resigned because of his unwillingness to act ethically shows precisely how high a value he places on proper behaviour.

Eric Gendle, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough.

Better leader

WITH a disappointing vote of confidence and two by-election defeats, Boris Johnson reminds me of an Army officer's fitness report which stated: "This officer's powers of leadership are so poor one can only assume his men follow him out of a sense of curiosity."

Unfortunately there is no credible alternative, so may I suggest "bring back David Miliband". He was the best leader Labour never had.

P Holmes, Barnard Castle.